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Special? Pah!
2012
unknownj
I've eventually gotten around to working through Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.. But I still can't get my head around it.. I'm sure that it's all been proved to be correct, but I just can't get it.

The first postulate, that the laws of physics apply independent of inertial movement, I'm fine with. It stands to reason that, given a state of inertial movement, it is impossible to determine what's actually moving. If I'm in a vacuum, moving uniformly in around the earth, am I moving in the universe, or is the universe moving around me? I'm quite reassured by the fact that special relativity acknowledges that in inertial movement, it is impossible to determine the correct frame of reference - this is what I had always believed in the first place.

Okay, so we now have that the laws of physics do not consider inertial movement. It then follows, according to the theory, that the speed of light always maintains a constant velocity c, independent of the state of motion of the emitting body or the receiving body. In other words, the speed of light is deemed to be a fundamental law of physics, and therefore also disregards inertial movement.

So let's assume I have an object moving at an indeterminate speed along a vector, and this object emits light. Let's then say that I set two observer objects moving at a constant speed, in opposite directions along that vector. According to the special theory of relativity, each of those observer objects will observe the light moving towards them at the constant speed c, in spite of the fact that one of them is moving towards the light source, and one of them is moving away from the light source, and the fact that I haven't even defined the speed or direction of the light source in the first place.

Which means that time is suddenly.. well.. relative. Or, rather, non-existent in the way in which I normally think about it. Because there's no such thing as instant, and you can't possibly *prove* that two things have happened at the same time, and.. well.. Anyway, the point is, relativity breaks time. And, actually, breaks space as well. Because everything is relative.

In fact, it would be more accurate to say that relativity breaks my perception of the world. The idea that time and space are elastic is a bit.. bothersome.. And that's before you even consider quantum!

And on that subject, I feel rather upset.. I've learned that another of the crucial pieces of my own beliefs was invented before I got around to it.. The reason that this troubles me is because I came up with this independently of these people, and had I been born a couple of decades earlier, it would have been my idea. Anyway, the following link explains it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_suicide

I postulated a good decade ago that in a multi-universe environment, if a non-zero probability of survival exists, then this is the outcome that will be perceived by the subject, since perception of the alternative is impossible. It's just annoying, because I came up with this at fourteen years old, and if I'd had the sense, I would have mentioned it to somebody. Instead, I factored it into my own personal belief that I'm invulnerable (which I may or may not have tried to explain to my siblings/parents at the time).

"A variation of this thought experiment suggests a controversial outcome known as quantum immortality, which is the argument that if the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct then a conscious observer can never cease to exist."

*sigh* Yup, that was the basis of my 'beliefs' with regard to what happens when you die. I argued that given that we only perceive one universe at a time, then at any instant where there is a chance of survival this is the outcome that must be perceived.

However, this theory only works on an instant-by-instant basis, which is why a few years later (when I started reading up on Wicca and general Pagan type stuff), I came up with the idea of reincarnation. Imagine that life is one very very very complex maze, with every possible outcome branching off every possible decision. At any given instant, you can see those immediate dead-ends, and your consciousness must head off down another path. However, the system is one-way - eventually, it may be possible to reach a point where the probability of survival in the next instant is non-zero, but the probability of survival in the following instant is zero (though in such a complex universe, it can be argued whether such a point can ever exist).

After all, in this system there is no foresight - it is not possible to question what might happen in the *next* step, only evaluate the choices in the current step. You turn the corner, and there it is - a dead end, nowhere to go. At which point, you've had it (subject to a true dead end ever existing). At which point, the mind is suddenly freed - after all, within the confines of the experiment whatever happens in the next instant must by definition include the perception of the observer.

Ergo, in the instant after death, if it is possible within the universe for perception to continue, then it will. Much like the possibility of survival, the possibility of continued perception must be zero to end the experiment, and given the infinite nature of the universe and unknown basis of consciousness, it'd be pretty risky to assume such a zero probability.

Which means life must go on. If further perception is at all possible, it will occur. I'm sure this is somehow covered under the anthropic principle (which is another of those things that I came up with independently, and later found out that it already existed) - if not, it's certainly covered under my version. If there is a non-zero probability of perception continuing, then it will. Otherwise, there's not an issue, since I would not be able to perceive one. And due to the multi-universe nature of the whole problem, this is an experiment that is conducted alone - nobody else can follow me down those choices, just as I can't follow them down theirs (y'know, the whole 'nobody else thinks except for me' thing)..

But anyway, that's enough metaphysical nonsense for now..

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Not a big fan of actual work then?

I am, but..

a) sometimes queries take over an hour to run, and it's hard to do other things
b) I work longer hours than I need to, and tend not to go out at lunch, which gives me free time to write crap like the above :o)

When are you getting a job? :oP

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